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Reviews will be updated this week

This post is for anyone who checks this blog through the main page or if anyone’s subscribed to this blog.

Due to vacation, hot Ohio weather and other factors, I’ve not been getting nearly as many reviews written as I’d like. I’ve continued posting reviews to Comixtreme.com, and you can see those there.

I’ll have new reviews up here this week, including the usual links to my cX reviews.

Please bear with me…

Nostalgia: Superman, Batman, Avengers, and Thor

Like many things that become a big part of one’s life, there are numerous elements that lead us toward something. We can tell of the same thing with different amounts of detail, leaving some things out or adding more detail, resulting in what–out of context–can seem to be different stories, while really all being parts of the same story.

For me, there were several things that got me into comics, and the roles each played may seem more or less important depending on where in the story we pick up.

There’s “Mr. S” of The Letter People, with his Super Socks that turned him into a “super sonic streak in the sky.” There’s my grandfather. There’s my sister and mom that day some 20+ years ago at the bookstore in the mall. There’s my friend Zack that spring/summer 17 years ago.

But whatever part of the story one gets into, for me it’s my grandfather who directly and indirectly played the largest role–the others were all lead-ups and supports. My grandfather provided the FOUNDATION. And I wonder if that is THE reason I simply like DC characters better than I do Marvel, whatever the great stories from either or other companies.

I remember talking about Superman with my grandfather. I remember all those comics he shared with me. All those visits where I’d get to raid “the comic cabinet” and read whatever looked interesting (mostly Superman or Batman, but there were some other characters…most of whom I didn’t really recognize at the time, but am now QUITE familiar with).

I once noted that he and I had different views on Superman, in particular.  To him, Superman was the primary character, and Clark Kent was “the mask.”  Yet to me–growing up on new comics from 1989-present–Clark Kent was the primary character, and Superman was “the mask.” Yet, we both greatly enjoyed the character, even with our expertise lying in two different versions of the character.

I remember about 5 1/2 years ago reading Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek when it shipped as single prestige volumes. I read the fourth/final chapter, and couldn’t wait to share this story with him. This was a version of the character–and a great story–that I found to be instantly one of my favorite Superman stories. And it was one that I KNEW my grandfather would enjoy, as well. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to share this story with him–he died maybe a week or two after that final chapter came out. (That, perhaps, is a huge factor in why I so hated the perversion of “Superboy Prime” in Infinite Crisis through to the present…it was a perversion of something that spawned this story.)

Years before all this, when my family visited my grandparents, I remember Grandpa excitedly showing me a new Batman comic.  He was working part-time at that point–I believe as a janitor or some such function at a local K-Mart (this was before I’d even heard of “Wal-Mart,” I’m pretty certain). He’d happened across one of those old 3-packs of “collector’s item comics.”  This one had Batman Beyond #1. (I don’t recall if it was a one-shot or first issue of a mini-series…and I don’t recall if there even WAS an ongoing at any point).

But Grandpa thought this was a fantastic comic. He loved the way it introduced this new character who was THE Batman, and yet had Bruce Wayne–the original Batman–in a mentor role. And the art…he seemed to think that was one of the best parts. The package, the concept…quite the exciting thing.  To me, it wasn’t all that special at the time. But looking back…that was definitely “a moment.” And more recently…it jumps out not just for nostalgia, but as an example of someone who had–maybe “grown up with” isn’t quite the phrase, but to that point “had always known” Batman to be Bruce Wayne–and had NO PROBLEM WHATEVER with accepting a comic showing someone DIFFERENT as the starring Batman.

Grandpa was never a comics academic. He (to my knowledge) never read a magazine about comics, and the only “advance” knowledge he had of any given comic story was what was published as an ad in one of the comics that he bought…or if something made the newspaper (Death of Superman, Broken Batman, etc). He simply enjoyed the stories that he read when he’d buy an issue.

I remember one time that he and my uncle found out about a huge Avengers story. Between the two of them, they got the entirety of Operation: Galactic Storm in singles.  It was years later that I read that story, borrowing their copy of the issues.

And finally (for now)…I remember back in late spring/early summer of 1998 or so, when the new post-Heroes Reborn Thor series made its debut. Grandpa was here visiting for a golf tournament with Dad, and we got to talking about comics, and I showed him these new Thor comics. Now, Grandpa knew Thor–both the version starring in the title during Operation Galactic Storm, as well as the classic. This was a much different take on the character.  But he read it, and enjoyed it.

It was such a cool thing at the time…comics that *I* bought, that were new things to ME…and I got to share them with HIM.

My parents gave me a love of reading. My grandfather provided me foundation of comics my own acquisitions expanded upon.

Here I am 20 years later. A degree in Popular Culture because someone once asked me–in context of discussing college majors–WHAT did I have a PASSION for?  And nearly every Wednesday, I’m at the comic store getting my new comics.

And Wednesday Comics?

I think Grandpa would’ve LOVED it.

Wherein a blogger returns from unplanned hiatus

I’ve essentially been on hiatus the last several weeks.

Tonight, while closing tabs, noticed an ad on a facebook page. Something about seminary. I clicked on it, and was taken to the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School site. I browsed a few pages starting with the Financial Aid and cost of living stuff. Then I spotted the “Extension site” information, and recalled that one of their extension sites is maybe 10 minutes from my apartment. Started looking at what extension classes were offered, and courses.

Long story short, I eventually wound up reading through a syllabus for one of the classes, and with the concept of a non-degree course (taking a course for the sake of taking it rather than toward a degree) being $220ish…

I’m (if only at this late sleep-deprived hour) beginning to think seriously about trying to take a class this fall. I’ve had the idea in the back of my head to try to get back into some sorta school-type thing, even if not toward any degree. And I’m realizing that stuff like that is only going to happen if I actually GO for it instead of letting it languish as an “idea” for “next fall” or “the next semester” or whatever.

The feeling I had–the excitement of reading the syllabus, considering the reading material, contemplating the guidelines laid out for the 15-paged academic paper that would make up the majority of the course grade…the wheels that started turning in my mind and the INTEREST in it all…

It just reinforces in me the knowledge that I’m at my best in an academic setting. I may “survive” “real life,” but I thrive in the academic environment…in some ways, probably always have.

Randomish thoughts

– I’ve passed on buying the Cry for Justice JLA mini-series partially for the cover price…but mostly because I am So. Freaking. Frustrated. with the FREQUENT use of splitting singular images across multiple covers…of the same stupid ISSUE. Make issues 1-2 go together for a single image. Spread an image across issues 1-3.  Spread an image across chapters 1-2, or chapters 1-3, or however many “panels” the image is made of. But darnit, DC…quit doing it across multiple single-panel/front-covers of the same issue!

– I’ve lost track of all the Marvel comics that I have passed on due to the $3.99 price.  Marvel, I assume you’re making plenty of money to cover for what I’m NOT buying. But I’ve been tempted a lot of times by random Marvel issues–whether Dark Wolverine #75 for a couple reviews I read, issues of Old Man Logan where I’ve contemplated picking up all the issues available so far, or any of a number of one-shots when I just want to add an extra comic to my stack or whatever. But I always put the issue(s) back or neglect to touch them when I realize/recall that hey…they’re $3.99, and that’s TOO MUCH in my mind for a standard (Marvel) comic.

– I’ve passed on the single issues of Astro City: Dark Age this time around…though I was sorely tempted to snag issues 2-3 this week just because they were there.  But they’re $3.99 and I see no point to the cardstock covers…just give me a paper cover and newsprint interior so I can read the darned story…save the high-quality cover stock and paper for the collected volumes!

– I’m debating whether or not to “pre-order” a “subscription” to the upcoming “Archie gets married” arc kicking off with Archie #600.  Saw an ad on facebook–one that was PROPERLY targeted (I’ve clicked on more comic-related and new-books-related ads than I have anything else–wish they’d get the hint and stick to those instead of the assinine personals/etc. ads!). Probably going to opt for the singles, provided I can find ’em. Missed on the Freshman Year arc because no one ever had the 1st issue of the arc, or a middle issue was missing (i’m NOT going to buy parts 2 and 4-5 without 1 and 3 at the same time, for example). If it was chapters 1-4 or 2-5, I might go for it and hunt the missing chapter as a single.

Booking Through Thursday: Celebrities?

Booking Through Thursday.

Suggested by Callista83:

Do you read celebrity memoirs? Which ones have you read or do you want to read? Which nonexistent celebrity memoirs would you like to see?

Other than blogs by comic creators/companies, not really.  Given this is Booking Through Thursday, my initial answer is “no.” At least–it’s “no” as far as super-star celebrities and such.

However, I’ve come to REALLY enjoy human/pet memoirs over the past year or so. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, Marley & Me, and Wesley the Owl are three of my favorite reads from the past 9 months. Each is a memoir by the author of their life with the beloved pet (cat, dog, and owl respectively).

Actually, I suppose those are–especially Marley and Dewey–celebrity memoirs.  There’s a hit movie about Marley now. And Dewey…well, the title says it all. Though “just” a library-cat in a small town…he touched the world.

And more than any celebrity, the story of Dewey’s life had a profound impact on ME. I read his story a little over a week after losing one of my cats last fall, and there was something distinctly therapeutic about reading about the life of another cat who was important to anyone. The anecdotes of his antics were far more interesting to me than anything I might read about a human celebrity.

Marley & Me: Life and
Marley & Me / Dewey / Wesley the Owl
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